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The Cleanup Popper

Disclaimer: This fly has not been field tested so I lay no claims to its durability or effectiveness. On the other hand, if it catches fish, I gladly welcome all credit.

Even though I have not been tying for that long, I still have an inordinate amount of material stuffed into any nook and cranny of my hunting room. Accompanying my wife to the craft store has been my undoing as I go straight to the foam, beads, and feathers and as a result I have gobs of different colors of foam and feathers. I have essentially put myself on hold from buying any more tying products unless they are the essentials. I have never been able to bring myself to buy the little foam bodies for bass poppers and have always looked for a way to use some other item around the house. In my wanderings on line I saw foam being used in quite a few different ways and borrowed a couple of ideas and came up with the following fly. It incorporates quite a bit of the odds and ends on the tying table hence the name “Ben’s Cleanup Fly.”

3/8"X2" foam on a #8 long shank streamer hook (I am sure a bass hook would really do the trick.)

Pierce foam onto hook

3/0 thread and what is nice is the foam can spin freely as you wind on thread and material

Tie in tail material. I have marabou, stretchy legs, flash and more marabou tied in there and started adding a drop of super glue to keep everything secure.

Whatever chenille or dubbing can be added in for a mid section.

The Fold...

This is where the 3/0 thread comes in handy...

Legs and a whip finish will do the trick...

Enjoy. Let me know how it works for you and any thoughts you have on it.


Lake Pleasant

I was not able to make it up North on Saturday, and instead spent an hour or so at Lake Pleasant on Saturday morning. The lake was low and I am guessing that it dropped at least 30 feet since I saw it in the spring. Fish we active in the middle of the lake but being stuck on shore was unproductive and miserable. So I opted instead to spend my weekend tying some flies.

Notice the high water mark...


More Poppers

Prince Variation

1st attempt at a Stimulator variation...

Early morning brown


Even though I make my living as an educator, I found it very difficult to accurately convey the basic principles of fly fishing to a friend. JohnMark and I have known each other since childhood and even though he was my brother’s best friend growing up, I consider him a good friend myself. He was in town checking out the area with the possibility of moving here, and we decided to take a day and do a little fly fishing. Although spin fishing on the Hudson River is JohnMark’s specialty, I attempted to show him a good time on the small streams of Arizona. The evening before we spent a little bit of time in the community greenbelt practicing our casts and awoke early in the morning in order to be first on the stream. It was a beautiful day and after a few fish to hand, I spent the remainder of the day trying to get my

A Fat lil' Brownie

friend on to some fish. After several missed takes, he connected on a beautiful 12 inch wild trout. As I saw him admiring his fish and gently release it back to the dark pool it came from, it almost pleased me as much to see someone else enjoying fly fishing as much as I do…almost. He already is asking questions about which rod to choose and I can very easily tell when the venomous bite of fly fishing begins to run its course and take hold of another victim.


Ice Cold...

Mid-day Brown

Mid-day Brookie

Labor Day weekend found me lazy and not motivated. I planned to leave early in the morning and set my alarm for 3:15 but something must have happened because when my eyes opened, the bright Arizona sun was filtering through the blinds. I quickly rushed through my morning routine and quietly shut the front door around 6:30 to drive to the Rim. Knowing that my morning was more or less shot and that there would be gobs of holiday weekenders on every stretch of water, I decided to check out a few blue lines that I was pretty sure did not hold any fish. After putting some miles under my boots only to find out I was right, I headed to the one spot that I was sure no one would be. The fishing started slow with only a few fish willing to dart out and attack my fly, but by 2:30 I was seeing steady action. Keeping my fly close to the bank, I was able to induce strikes fairly regularly as well as lose many of my precious flies.

Typical evening brown

As the sun sank lower in the sky, the fishing really turned on with multiple fish feeding in every pool. The strikes turned from half-hearted sips to a last-meal feeding frenzy. The 10-12 inch browns really put up a fight and put a fantastic bend in the 3 weight. What had started as a slow afternoon turned into a fish filled evening with over 20 fish to hand. I said a quick “thank you” prayer for finding some quiet water and hungry fish on such ridiculously crazy weekend and decided not to push my luck with another day. For future labor day weekends, I will probably just hang out at home and tie some flies instead of attempting to find a spot to park anywhere in Northern Arizona.

Last fish of the evening...